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How to Make Working Out More Enjoyable. Make Exercise Fun Again.

Updated on March 16, 2019
mikejhca profile image

Some of my hobbies include long distance biking, hiking and nature photography. I like to exercise and I enjoy most of my workouts.


Physical exercise is an activity requiring movement and effort. Some examples are running, biking, walking, cleaning your house, yard work and playing sports. There are people that enjoy exercising to improve or maintain their health, people that hate it and lots of people that assume they would not like it. You might decide you don't like doing something when you never tried it.

Exercising is good for your body and your mind but people often do their best to avoid it. They act like it is bad because they don't like it or they don't like the idea of exercising. Why do some people hate exercise and other people love it? Maybe you associate it with pain, boredom, a lack of energy, weakness and hunger. Some people love it because they formed positive associations.

Doing calf raises to get ready for cycling season.
Doing calf raises to get ready for cycling season. | Source

Ease Into Exercise

Most people don't like their new workout routine the first week. At first exercise feels too much like hard work and it does not feel good. It tires you out, it is uncomfortable and it can hurt. You can also expect to be bad at it. If you just started working out to get fit or lose weight then you are probably not going to like it.

Exercising becomes more enjoyable after a few weeks. That is when you start to experience some of the benefits. You may feel stronger, healthier, happier, and more relaxed. It can also slow down your breathing and heart rate. I only like exercise when I have been exercising regularly. If I stop for a while then I don't like it as much.

Ease into your new workout routine by taking it easy the first week. Give your body time to adapt. Being really sore the next day is normal. It is a common mistake. You can avoid delayed onset muscle soreness by not trying your best the first 2 or 3 times.

Stop Focusing on Your Weight

Like most people I do not like working out to lose weight. People that workout to reduce their weight or to lose fat are less likely to enjoy exercise. They are more likely to quit going to the gym or working out at home. Working out to lose weight takes the fun out of exercising. It is hard work and it is usually boring. Why you workout can change how you feel about it.

Based on my experience exercising to get fit or to entertain yourself is more enjoyable than working out to lose weight. When I exercise to lose weight I don't enjoy it because it feels like work. When I workout to get in shape or to have fun I look forward to it. It feels like a hobby. Playing motion controlled video games, going for walks, biking to the beach and swimming are some of the exercises I do for fun.

Focus on what you want instead of focusing on things you don't want. For example I want to be lean, fit, muscular and healthy. I also want to have fun. Being overweight and having excess belly fat is bad for you. Getting fit, having fun and relaxing is good for you. You don't need to think about the things you don't want to get what you want. Weight loss goals are negative. I prefer fitness goals.

Exercising to get fit.
Exercising to get fit. | Source

Failure is Good

People often avoid exercise because they don't want to fail but failing helps you succeed. Training to failure or close to failure helps you improve your strength and endurance. People get in shape by setting impossible goals. Think of something you can't do. Then try to do it. Fail again and again until you succeed.

Improving while being active is a great way to change your body. Being bad at something can be an opportunity to improve a lot. You can quickly get better at it. While you are improving you are changing your body. I started doing finger push ups because I could not even do one rep. I am doing a wrist roller workout because I could not even do 3 in a row with a 5 pound weight. Failing while exercising can be a good opportunity.

Doing decline finger push ups on a chair while wearing a weighted backpack.
Doing decline finger push ups on a chair while wearing a weighted backpack. | Source

Active Entertainment

Reading, watching TV, and playing games while sitting are forms of sedentary entertainment. You barely move. Active entertainment involves moving. For example playing a sport or going for a walk. I play motion controlled video games. I also go for walks and bike rides. Sitting still limits your options and it gets boring. There are lots of fun things you can do off the couch.

People that have been sitting for a long time usually look bored. You might keeping watching TV or playing video games after it becomes boring because you don't have anything better to do. Most of the time when people say there is nothing to do there are lots of fun or interesting things they could be doing. They just need to get up and move around. Include active entertainment with your sedentary entertainment.

Hiking and taking pictures can be a fun hobby.
Hiking and taking pictures can be a fun hobby. | Source

Compete Against Yourself

Activities that involve exercise are often more enjoyable when you compete against yourself. When you compete against yourself you only lose when you don't do your best. You win by improving. If you beat what you did last time then you did great. When I am competing against myself it is easy to tell if I improved and my success does not depend on other people. I can improve over and over again and that feels good.

If you like competing against other people and it helps you then compete against other people and yourself. If it does not help you improve or you don't like it then just compete against yourself. Instead of basing your success or failure on what other people can do, base it on what you did last time. Winning is improving. Losing is not trying your best.

I often compete against myself while doing 30 day challenges.

Accomplish Something

When you accomplish something it feels good. You could feel a sense of accomplishment every week or even every day by exercising. I biked for 3 hours to a beach because doing something great makes me feel great. Some people climb mountains to feel a sense of accomplishment. You can do lots of great things while exercising.

Achieving things makes your life more interesting and it can provide you with more happy memories. Even small accomplishments can feel good. I felt like I achieved something when I got to the top of a large hill while I was hiking. Watching TV or playing video games by pressing buttons does not give me that feeling. While you are exercising do things that provide you with a sense of accomplishment.

Biking to parks and beaches is a great way to get in shape.
Biking to parks and beaches is a great way to get in shape. | Source

Turn It Into a Habit

People form habits by doing things over and over again for a few weeks. One of the reasons people don't want to exercise is because they are not in the habit of exercising. When people start to workout on a regular basis there is often a lot of resistance because they are attempting to replace old habits with new ones. Resistance to change is natural. You need to keep reminding yourself to change your behavior and you will feel like you are giving something up.

Working out can become a habit. You just need to overcome the resistance to change the first 2 or 3 weeks. Make to do lists, write it down, get an app to remind you and put exercise equipment where you will see it so you can't forget. Force yourself to be active until it becomes a habit. Then it will start to feel natural. After it becomes a habit you probably will not want to stop. Resistance to change means that once you start exercising regularly it can be hard to stop.

Working out can become a habit that is hard to break.

Some Enjoyable Exercise Ideas

weight lifting
bodyweight exercises
paddle boarding
punching bag workouts
rock climbing
motion controlled games
roller skating
exercise challenges
tia chi

Why I Like Exercise

Do I workout almost every day because I like exercising or do I like exercise because I workout almost every day? You may assume people workout because they like exercising. I think people like to exercise because they workout. The main reason I like working out is because I started exercising. To like it you need to try it and you need to stick with it for at least 3 weeks. Do it a bunch of times and you will probably start to enjoy it. Do it a lot and you may start to love it.

You might hate working out because you avoid it or because you do it to lose weight. I associate exercise with feeling good, looking good, relaxation, accomplishments, strength, endurance and power. I do it for fun, fitness, relaxation or to feel a sense of accomplishment. Instead of comparing myself to other people I focus on improving myself. Exercising is one of my habits. That is why I like exercising now.

Sitting still for long periods of time every night makes you like sitting still for hours. Exercising regularly makes you like it. Most people automatically like exercise after they starting working out every week to get fit. If you want to go from hating to loving it then start a new active hobby or workout routine. Don't think of liking or not liking exercise as a constant. It is something that can be changed like food cravings.

One of the first things I noticed when I started biking long distances was that it reduced my junk food cravings. It made me want to eat healthy food. I like healthy food more when I am doing cardio workouts. What you like is influenced by your behavior.

How to Make Exercise Fun Again

  1. Ease into a new exercise routine.
  2. Focus on getting fit and having fun.
  3. Remember that failure helps you succeed.
  4. Exercise to reduce boredom.
  5. Compete against yourself
  6. Feel a sense of accomplishment.
  7. Turn it into a habit.
  8. Find activities you enjoy.
  9. Keep trying new things.
  10. Expect to dislike your new workout routine the 1st time.

The first time I tried long distance cycling it felt like I was torturing myself. I hated it but I expected it to feel like torture the first time. Hating it did not stop me from trying it again. Now biking to parks and beaches is may favorite way to stay fit.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Michael H


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